Through it all, the city had the benefit of a constant journalistic force: Juan Gonzalez of the Daily News.
It is hard to believe that 25 years have passed since Juan walked past the landmark globe in the landmark News Building on E. 42nd St. and took a desk in the seventh-floor city room, a newcomer from a Philadelphia newspaper.
Born in Puerto Rico, raised in East Harlem and Brooklyn and schooled at Columbia, where he helped lead anti-Vietnam War protests that shut the university, Juan came home to write a column.
And write the hell out of it he did, as New York’s leading pro-left, pro-labor voice.
Along the way, Juan became a beacon to whistleblowers and to wronged people for whom justice was lacking.
When few wanted to listen, Juan raised the alarm over airborne toxins released by the toppling of the World Trade Center. He told the stories of NYPD Sgt. Dexter Brown, who was wrongly shot by a member of his own narcotics team; of the people who had been wrongfully evicted from apartments managed by the Pinnacle Group; of Anna Gloria Rivera, a 10-year-old who died of botched care in the emergency room of Brooklyn’s Woodhull Hospital after an asthma attack. All of them or their representatives were vindicated in court and won large compensation awards. So did many others about whom Juan wrote.